1 ¶ And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Having just given a list of Jacob’s sons, then an interlude where Esau’s brief genealogy is given the narrative returns to Jacob and focuses on Joseph, who, in many particulars is a type of Christ. Joseph is his father’s favorite. Christ, as the Son of God, is the Father’s beloved, as well. Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colors. Note that this is kind of clothing was considered very valuable. This is reflected in Deborah’s victory song in Judges 5.
Judges 5:28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? 29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, 30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
It is the type of coat worn by King David’s daughter.
2Samuel 13:18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
I have read reports that there have been Egyptian tomb paintings showing traders from the area of Canaan wearing such clothing, probably made more valuable by the costly work of dyeing the fabric.
Because Joseph was his father’s favorite his brothers were envious. The Jewish leadership were envious of Christ, as well, because of His influence on the people.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Here we see that Joseph’s brothers hated him, which I showed before meant to hold him in contempt, to despise him. They are jealous of Jacob’s love for Joseph.
Joseph gave his father a report of his brother’s bad behavior. As Matthew Henry’s commentary says one of the reasons his brothers hated him was, “Because he informed his father of their wickedness.”